Sabine Melchior- Bonnet, Storia dello specchio [History of the Mirror] edition Daedalo 2002
This is a precious book. It came as a gift from the abbess of the Capuchin nuns of Primiero. The volume had sat on the bedside table of Sister Stefania Monti, a biblical scholar and poet who taught me not to fear culture and knowledge even in the monastic sphere. She died suddenly a year ago. This book intrigued me very much. It was written by a French lecturer with an introduction by Jean Delumeau, and traces the history of the mirror in the first part. The story commences in Mediterranean civilizations that manufactured small metal mirrors, using thin sheets of bronze, concave or convex. However, these returned to a dark reflection to the viewer. These were followed by the difficulties of perfecting the blown-glass mirror with the unsurpassed art of the glass masters of Murano to the production of saint Gobain mirrors in France, which reached the apex of royal manufacture with Versailles. In the second part, the author reflects on humanity’s conflicting relationship with the mirror and its philosophical, psychological moral and religious connections. Even in the Bible, a mirror without blemish (Wisdom 7:26) intended to educate man, there are references to the mirror not as a self-reflexive and utilitarian object but as a reflection of God capable of sending us back our likeness.
by Rosa Lupoli